Posts tagged with "Netflix"

Netflix cancels Meghan Markle’s animated series, ‘Pearl’

May 4, 2022

Netflix has cancelled development of “Pearl,” an animated series created by Meghan Markle, in its move to cut costs. The show, which was announced last year, is one of several projects being dropped by the streaming giant, reports the BBC.

Last month, Netflix revealed a sharp fall in subscribers and warned millions more are set to quit the service. That wiped over US$50 billion off the company’s market value as experts warned it faced a struggle to get back on track.

Archewell Productions, the company formed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced last year that Meghan would be an executive producer of Pearl. The series was planning to center on the adventures of a 12-year-old girl, who is inspired by influential women from history.

Netflix did, however, confirm that it will continue to work on a number of projects with Archewell Productions, including a documentary series called Heart of Invictus. The series will focus on athletes competing in the Invictus Games for injured veterans, an event founded by Prince Harry, in The Hague in 2022.

Archewell Productions did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment.

Research contact: @BBC

Obamas to end exclusive deal with Spotify

April 22, 2022

Higher Ground, the media company started by former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, is ending its exclusive podcast deal with Spotify and is shopping for other partners in the podcasting space, reports Variety.

The Obamas are exiting their exclusive pact with Spotify, originally inked in 2019, after being frustrated with the company’s exclusive terms: They want to have their podcast programming distributed as widely as possible, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Higher Ground also has disagreed with Spotify over how many of its shows would feature the former POTUS and FLOTUS, as first reported by reported by Bloomberg.

Higher Ground’s current deal with Spotify runs through October. According to one source, Spotify declined to make an offer to renew the agreement.

Podcasts that Higher Ground has produced for Spotify will continue to launch on the streaming platform through the fall, according to the Bloomberg report. But the company is currently in talks with other audio distribution companies, including Amazon-owned Audible and iHeartMedia, in hopes of reaching a nonexclusive deal for its podcast content.

Higher Ground’s first podcast for Spotify was “The Michelle Obama Podcast,” released in mid-2020, which at one point had ranked as the most-listened-to Spotify original to date. The company also produced “Renegades: Born in the USA,” a series of conversations between Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, released on Spotify last year.

In January, Higher Ground’s “The Big Hit Show,” focused on transformational moments of pop culture, premiered on Spotify. The company also released “Tell Them, I Am,” a podcast collection of universal stories from Muslim voices on the platform.

Spotify will retain certain distribution rights to “The Michelle Obama Podcast” and other Higher Ground shows in perpetuity. In addition, wherever the Obamas take their next podcast deal, it is likely that those new projects would be distributed on Spotify on a nonexclusive basis.

Separately, Higher Ground has a pact to produce films and TV shows exclusively for Netflix. The company’s first film, “American Factory,” won the 2019 Oscar for best documentary feature.

Reps for both Spotify and Higher Ground declined to comment.

Research contact: @Variety

Netflix may offer lower-priced, ad-supported plans

April 21, 2022

After years of resisting the idea of running advertisements on its streaming service, Netflix now is “open” to offering lower-priced tiers with ads, co-CEO Reed Hastings said on Tuesday, April 19, reports CNBC.

Hastings has long been opposed to adding commercials or other promotions to the platform, but said during the company’s prerecorded earnings conference call that it “makes a lot of sense” to offer customers a cheaper option.

“Those who have followed Netflix know that I have been against the complexity of advertising and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription,” Hastings said. “But as much as I am a fan of that, I am a bigger fan of consumer choice, and allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price and are advertising-tolerant to get what they want makes a lot of sense.”

The option likely wouldn’t be available on the service for a year or two, Hastings said. A new ad-supported tier has a lot of profit potential for Netflix, which on Tuesday reported its first subscriber loss in more than a decade.

Netflix cited growing competition from recent streaming launches by traditional entertainment companies, as well as rampant password sharing, inflation. and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine for the recent stall in paid subscriptions.

In an effort to lure more subscribers, Netflix has increased its content spend, particularly on originals. To pay for it, the company hiked prices of its service. Netflix said those price changes are helping to bolster revenue but were partially responsible for a loss of 600,000 subscribers in the U.S. and Canada during the most recent quarter.

A lower-tier option that includes advertisements could keep some price-conscious consumers with the service and provide Netflix with a different avenue to garner funds.

“It’s pretty clear that it’s working for Hulu. Disney is doing it. HBO did it,” Hastings said. “I don’t think we have a lot of doubt that it works.”

Research contact: @CNBC

Netflix is hiring Condé Nast and Time journalists, building a ‘fandom engine’ to market its shows

February  4, 2022

With stories like “The ‘Tinder Swindler’ Might Just Scare You Off Dating Apps” and “The Ultimate Ozark Travel Guide,” Tudum — pronounced like Netflix‘s signature opening sound—reads like many digital lifestyle magazines, with a breezy voice and easily digestible fare.

But the site, launched in beta mode in December following a fan event of the same name in the fall, isn’t an online news outlet: It’s a Netflix marketing platform focused on the streaming service’s own shows and movies —as above, an upcoming true-con documentary and the Jason Bateman drama Ozark, respectively —that has hired a wide and sparkly array of former entertainment journalists, reports Business Insider.

The reporter-turns-publicist or reporter-turns-copywriter pipeline in Hollywood (and other industries) is hardly new, but Netflix has drawn curiosity for luring reporters and editors from seemingly enviable posts at established lifestyle sites and glossy magazines.

The high-profile hires began in 2019 with longtime Vanity Fair editor Krista Smith, whose tenure as a Netflix consultant evolved last spring into a position as director of editorial and publishing. She runs Queue, the streamer’s magazine geared toward Hollywood’s inside-the-industry, awards-focused crowd.

Graydon Carter, the founder of digital magazine Air Mail and previously the 25-year editor of Vanity Fair, told Insider he had read Netflix’s most recent issue of Queue

It’s propaganda in magazine form,” Carter said of Queue. “The oil companies used to do this sort of thing in the ’70s and ’80s: ‘Oil is good.'”

Carter said: “I looked through the magazine and I thought it was reasonably well done but it felt thin and expensive.” He added that it was no surprise that Netflix poached talented editors like his onetime employee Smith.

Netflix’s editorial spree ramped up last summer with Michelle Lee, the six-year editor-in-chief of Condé Nast’s Allure who was named Netflix VP of editorial and publishing, reporting to Chief Marketing Officer Bozoma Saint John. Lee now oversees Tudum, Queue, and Netflix’s social channels, among them, Strong Black Lead and Geeked.

Then there’s former Refinery29 Executive Editor Connie Wang, former The Wrap deputy editor Lawrence Yeev, and former Entertainment Weekly editor-in-chief Henry Goldblatt, who — after a decade at Time Inc. properties EW and People — served as VP of awards at Showtime for the past year before joining Netflix as an executive editor in January.

Netflx is still in hiring mode: The company has listed jobs for a Tudum content researcher, and editorial and publishing managers for Netflix Film, Geeked, and Strong Black Lead.

The streamer’s marketing editorial strategy also now extends to the kids and family space: Netflix Jr. magazine launched on Tuesday, February 1, promising preschool-aged children a “physical magazine your kids can hold in their hands — full of games, stories, activities — everything you need to share in the fun of your child’s favorite Netflix characters.” Netflix, Jr., like Queue, is a print publication. (Tudum is solely online.)

With starting pay of $50 an hour and 40-hour-a-week schedules, the Tudum writers who spoke to Insider generally expressed satisfaction with the gig.

“It boils down to money,” said one writer. “Journalism is struggling, and a lot of us are tired, and they keep cutting staff jobs and budgets; and [we’re] doing more and more and more, and being held to metrics that keep changing. And [if Netflix says], ‘We’re going to pay you a more-than-livable wage and let you continue to write about the things that you write,’ honestly, why wouldn’t you want to do that?”

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

TikTok ousts Google to become world’s favorite online destination

December 29, 2021

Move over Google; TikTok now is the world’s most popular online destination. The viral video app gets more hits than the American search engine, according to Cloudflare, a U.S.-based IT security company.

The rankings show that TikTok knocked Google off the top spot in February, March, and June of this year, and has held the number one position since August, reports the BBC.

Last year Google was first, and a number of sites—among them, TikTok, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Netflix—were in the top ten.

Cloudfare said it tracks data using its tool Cloudflare Radar, which monitors web traffic. The company surmises that one of the reasons for the surge in Tiktok’s popularity is the ongoing worldwide COVID pandemic—as lockdowns meant people were stuck at home and looking for entertainment.

By July this year, TikTok had been downloaded more than three billion times, according to data company San Francisco-based Sensor Tower.

The social network, which is owned by a Chinese company called Bytedance, headquartered in Beijing, now has more than one billion active users across the world, and that number continues to grow.

In China, to comply with the country’s censorship rules, the app is called Douyin, and runs on a different network. Douyin originally was released in September 2016. This year, China ruled that users under the age of 14 would be limited to 40 minutes a day on the platform.

Research contact: @BBC

‘Squid Game’ season 2 is ‘in discussions, but not confirmed yet,’ Netflix says

November 11, 2021

Netflix is eyeing a season two for its series “Squid Game”—which premiered in September and almost immediately enthralled the American audience, as well as viewers worldwide—but has yet to confirm production, reports CNBC.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday, November 9, that creator Hwang Dong-hyuk said the series would continue on the streaming platform during a screening of the show in Los Angeles on Monday.

I almost feel like you leave us no choice,” he told the news service. “There’s been so much pressure, so much demand and so much love for a second season.”

A Netflix spokesperson told CNBC that a second season of the show is “in discussions, but not confirmed yet.”

Hwang did temper expectations while speaking with reporters. He said that while he plans for lead actor Lee Jung-jae to return as the main character Seong Gi-hun, he did not know when production would begin for the project.

“It’s in my head right now,” Hwang said. “I’m in the planning process currently. But I do think it’s too early to say when and how that’s going to happen.”

The basis of “Squid Game” came from Hwang’s own family’s struggles in 2009, after the global financial crisis. The series follows 456 players, all of whom are in deep financial debt, as they risk their lives to play a series of deadly children’s games for a large cash prize.

In its first 28 days on Netflix, “Squid Game” was viewed by 111 million users for at least two minutes, the most of any other series during that time frame. The previous record-holder was “Bridgerton,” which was viewed by 82 million subscribers for at least 2 minutes during its first 28 days on the service.

Research contact: @CNBC

Netflix plans to offer video games in push beyond films and TV

July 19, 2021

Netflixmarking its first big move beyond TV shows and films—is planning an expansion into video games and has hired a former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive to lead the effort, Fortune Magazine reports.

Mike Verdu will join Netflix as vice president of Game Development, reporting to COO Greg Peters, the company said on Wednesday, July17. Verdu was previously Facebook’s vice president in charge of working with developers to bring games and other content to Oculus virtual-reality headsets.

In Verdu, the company has an executive who worked on popular mobile games at Electronic Arts, including titles in the Sims, Plants vs. Zombies and Star Wars franchises. He also served as chief creative officer for Zynga between 2009 and 2012.

The idea, according to a source, is to offer video games on Netflix’s streaming platform within the next year, Fortune says. The games will appear alongside current fare as a new programming genre—similar to what Netflix did with documentaries and stand-up specials. The company doesn’t currently plan to charge extra for the content, said the source, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

Netflix has been seeking ways to keep growing, especially in more saturated markets such as the United States. That’s included building out its kids’ programmingopening an online shop to sell merchandise, and tapping Steven Spielberg to bring more prestigious movies to its lineup.

The company remains well ahead of streaming rivals such as Disney+ or HBO Max, Fortune notes, but it added fewer subscribers than expected in its most recently reported quarter.

Netflix will be building out its gaming team in the coming months, according to the person familiar with the matter. The company has already started advertising for game-development related positions on its website.

Ultimately, the move may make it easier for Netflix to justify price increases in coming years. Games also serve the purpose of helping market existing shows.

Netflix has previously licensed the rights to games based on its shows—including Stranger Thing—but this new initiative is much larger in scope. The Los Gatos, California-based company has yet to settle on a game-development strategy, said the person.

In typical Netflix fashion, the company may start with just a few games and build from there.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

James Bond, meet Jeff Bezos: Amazon just bought MGM Studios for $8.45 billion

May 27, 2021

Jeff Bezos has a new pet lion, Fast Company reports.

Amazon has reached a deal to acquire the storied MGM Studios for $8.45 billion—a move that will significantly bulk up its content library and entertainment intellectual property (IP) in the escalating war between premium streaming services, reports Fast Company.

In a joint announcement on Wednesday, May 26, the companies said MGM’s arsenal of more than 4,000 titles—including franchises ranging from James Bond and The Pink Panther to the Rocky and Poltergeist movies—will complement the Seattle e-commerce giant’s existing Amazon Studios, which is largely focused on TV series.

For Amazon, the acquisition is the largest since it scooped up Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion in 2017, Fast Company says. It comes as competing firms such as Disney and Netflix are spending more and more each year to keep their streaming services replenished with fresh movies, TV series, and familiar franchises.

“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,”

Research contact: @FastCompany

Hundreds of companies, CEOs band together to defend and protect voting access

April 15, 2021

Hundreds of business leaders and companies—including Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, General Motors,. and Netflix—have signed on to a statement promising to “defend the right to vote and oppose any discriminatory legislation” in the latest corporate response to a wave of Republican-led voting suppression bills being advanced in dozens of states.

Among the executive signatories are BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, and Bloomberg CEO Michael Bloomberg.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, more than 300 companies, CEOs, and other executives signed the statement, which appeared as a full-page advertisement in The New York Times and other publications on March 14.

It was organized by Kenneth Chenault, the former chief executive of American Express, and Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck.

“There is overwhelming support in corporate America for this principle of voting rights,” Chenault said. “The right to vote is fundamental to America. It is not a partisan issue.”

According to the Journal, the statement doesn’t directly address specific voting legislation, nor does it call on companies to take business action or halt political donations to lawmakers supporting such bills.

“Clearly, we’re not being prescriptive about how people manifest their opposition,” Chenault said. “Who in their right mind would say that they want legislation that will limit people’s ability to vote?”

Research contact: @WSJ

Netflix begins cracking down on password sharing

March 15, 2021

Netflix has started clamping down on viewers who share passwords among separate households, CNET reports.

Some users recently have reported that they can no longer get past the login screen—having received a notification message informing them they needed to be in the same household as the account owner.

If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching,” the message reads, according to user reports on Twitter. A Netflix sign-up button is included with the message.

In case it’s the account owner trying to log in from a different location, Netflix gives the option of sending a verification code, CNET notes. So far, the message reportedly appears only on TV devices. Roku and iPhones are excluded.

Netflix commented on the situation, saying it’s more of a security measure, to make sure people are using accounts with permission.

“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” a spokesperson from Netflix told CNET.

It’s unclear whether the measure will affect more devices in the future.

Research contact: @CNET